56 Up - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

56 Up Reviews

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½ July 1, 2017
Super bra dokumentär! "The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted, a researcher for Seven Up, has been back to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives."
½ April 22, 2016
This unique cinematic experiment continues to fascinate.
March 16, 2016
Perhaps the best installment to date, mostly because the subjects themselves take more control, questioning Apted's motives and indeed the directors own bias in producing these films. Proving the point that reality tv is never all that real
August 20, 2015
Holy shit! Grandchildren the age they were when this started. HOW IS EVERYONE'S BRAIN NOT EXPLODING?! That's too much, man. Nick and Suzy conversation was perfect. They finally get it. Everyone is everyone. I'm sad this is the last one I can binge watch, and I hate the fact that I'll be 5 years older by the time another one comes around.
July 16, 2015
A continuing of the groundbreaking documentary series. As enthralling as the rest. Please keep making these! This one is interesting bc it comes at the time when technology has changed a lot and economy and government. U r also starting to see health issues among some of them and more deaths of parents. Their children are all grown up a lot of them with their own kids. It seems everyone is more comfortable in their own skin. Makes u reflect on ur own timeline. Thank u participants! Can't say enuff about these documentaries!
½ May 22, 2015
My first viewing experience of this 7-year Up documentary. I'm impressed by the vision of the project. However, not all the subjects are interesting enough to be followed.
April 18, 2015
This series is perfect, though each episode isn't great on its own
March 8, 2015
An amazing experience I don't know about watching each part separately, like 7 up and 16 up and so on. But as one, two hour long film that captures each of the interviewed characters in diffrent parts in there life as they grow up from 8 to 56 is a weirdly great two hour meditation on life itself.

Through movie critic Roger Ebert, who got a whole new wave of fans after his documentary Life Itself, which I admit is how I came to know about this film, that moment in Life Itself- in his hospital bed in that film he talks about the film as he talks to someone while hold the disc in his hand, since I kept my eye out for it and not surprisingly it was a brilliant presentation of not necessarily the whole spectrum of lives or emotions or mental psyche of its stars whos' lives are rolled out on screen one by one from a black and white film as innocent kids to who they have become today.

There's no way I can remember all the peoples life stories, especially since this is the first time seeing them or being tolled there stories in one quick but holding flow, but what I will do is tell one of the many peoples' live's that I found very interesting. One of the kids (Neil Hughs) goes through life almost completely homeless, getting a place to stay here and there- but the most bewildering part is the guy seems although a little bonkers, he also seemed over-whelming intellectual, at least with his words as scenes of his talks with camera.
From a child in school to a young adult in a dirty, pealing wallpaper apartment and years later in a baron stretch of country obviously hitchhiking, looking rather warn out. He was admitted but he felt the treatment was not moving fast enough and felt going it on his own would be a faster treatment to his weird nature, although not at all a proper medically correct second option, he is still well spoken for a jobless guy who wants to be in politics, who really waste it away eventually when the film catches up with him he is in small community as a councilor for the towns political committee, still living kinda'rough but found a sustainable solace in the friendship in the people, but clearly still not at peace- with no partner nor a real purpose or job.

An amazingly mind changing view as a fairly under-accomplished 17 year old, this films people, not necessarily there full felling or views are let out through the camera but enough to relate or complex your own views on life, I felt I needed to get off my ass while watching with these people who do more then I, who also don't reach those goals as old age catch's up with them, yet some or most find something in the the lifestyle they live,.. not at inner-peace like a monk but content enough.
They are fine almost all with there current circumstances.

An admiral documentary with an even more admiral goal to achieve- by capturing these peoples' beings every 7 years, can't wait for the next one hopefully then I also will find something to reach as goal, or maybe this site will explode. In any case a life-documentary that question it's viewer more then the lives it shows us.
February 15, 2015
I am hoping that this is the last one of the series as it will be difficult to see these folks get truly old. If nothing else, the changes in ideology, esp of the folks who were at an upper crust boarding school, are good to see.
December 18, 2014
Everyone is settling down into older age and looking back, but it's still a grand experiment.
½ October 29, 2014
This is a very interesting series. A truly unique film-making effort over many years. The life stories of the participants are each illuminating in their own special way. The original idea of following a group of children from the extremes of the British society is intriguing. Some of the common assumptions about socio-economic class are played out.

Through out this series, it seems virtually all of the participants say that they don't like being in the films. They probably accurately observe that the films only show a very short snap shot of their lives. The short film segments can not fully show who they really are. But, even these short, periodic views are instructive and revealing. I suspect there is a universality here that viewers can relate to.

The training and acculturation a child receives early in life does tend to stick with them. But, this series also shows the strong influence of individual temperament, values, energy, and interests. We might also infer that individual native intelligence plays a role in what path an individual chooses. Also, we see the effect of poor health, accidents, and mental/emotional health. These factors are unpredictable.

Some characters from both social groups show some awkwardness in dealing with the opposite sex. This innate difficulty of each individual plays itself out in a similar manner across the economic spectrum.

Several of the less economically advantaged subjects have built very satisfying and happy lives for themselves. This was not surprising. But, it is good to have this fact documented by this film series. An advanced academic education is not central to living a happy life.

The individuals who appear to be emotionally healthy also seem to be the best adjusted to the difficulties of life. Consequently, these people are the most contented and happy with their lives.

A farmer's son goes on to academic research and instruction. He has two brothers who remain in the local area. One is deaf. He comments that a person said he was surprised at his intelligence associated with his accent. That illustrates the limited comprehension some people have about members of another social group. This same man divorces an attractive, but guarded woman, who refuses to participate in the series after seeing herself on film. He is one of the most open/accessible characters. He later marries another attractive woman who appears to be as open and well adjusted as himself. I think this illustrates the value of an emotionally healthy spouse or significant other.

The awkwardness of juveniles at ages 14, 21, and somewhat less at age 28 is documented. This common characteristic of young people is well known across cultures and time. But, some people never manage to get past this stage of social development.

The one character who clearly struggles with his emotional health is inspiring. He appears happy and well adjusted as a young boy. Later, he seems clearly emotionally unstable. He keeps plugging away, moving forward. By his self reporting, he seems to have lived his life essentially alone. This, by itself, can be difficult. But, the man keeps putting one foot ahead of another. He manages to find satisfying activities for his life. He is an intelligent man. And, his intellect seems to aid his struggles to find some meaning in his life.

One upper class character marries a woman without an advanced education. They raise some children and seem very well suited to one another. We can only guess what makes this relationship work. But, again, they both seem to be emotionally healthy. This fact seems critical.

In 56 Up, we note that many of these British subjects have become obese. Balanced weight or over-weight seems to be a cultural norm in some countries. Obesity is still rare in Asian countries and France. This is somewhat difficult to understand. Everyone knows the multiple dangers of obesity. But, on the other hand, everyone also knows the dangers of smoking, illegal schedule one drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption. And still, many people continue to chase the questionable pleasures of the above. Since this behavior is not rational; we can only chalk it up to culture and temperament. No matter the health effects, some people are going to do what they want to do.

And finally, we see importance of the well-known adages of good health and sufficient income. If a person is relatively healthy, and has enough income, there is a base upon which to build and live a satisfying life.
October 13, 2014
Magnificent and there's nothing really complicated about it. It's just interviews with people as they grow older.
September 1, 2014
I was first introduced to this series in my early 20s with 28up. At the time I found the concept intriguing but lost track of the series after 35up. This weekend I spent time catching up going back to the beginning and watching it through to this latest instalment, 56up. It's striking to me at this age that despite Michael Apted's goal to prove that class defines who and what we are that everyone, despite these things, is largely represented by one of these characters at one age or another. I think that Michael thought that we would equate ourselves entirely to one or the other but I think that we are all each a bit of all of these people. It's like the breakfast club. We may have thought that we identified with either the geek, the jock, the basket case, etc., but ultimately we learn that we are all of these things (well except in my case not so much the jock, hahaha). Great series. If you have access to Netflix or can find it online, it's highly recommended.
½ August 14, 2014
The 'Up' series is fascinating, yet sometimes profoundly sad, as it is at times a boulevard of broken dreams.
½ July 27, 2014
I was planning on venturing to Scottsdale to watch "Boyhood", but I found this documentary on Netflix. It follows people from age 7 to age 56 and it's intriguing. I recommend it!
½ July 10, 2014
Fascinating, SO glad I watched this documentary. Highly recommend.
July 5, 2014
Have been with them from the start; it is hard to give up now!
June 24, 2014
latest entry in the up series which i've seen them all and we r the same age
May 7, 2014
Well, perhaps the most interesting thing to be discovered here is that people just don't change too much between age 49 and age 56. However, that makes this latest instalment in the incredibly long running 7 Up series (that tracks the same 12 or so British children drawn from different socioeconomic backgrounds across time, checking in every seven years) somewhat anti-climactic. After all, we've been waiting 7 years for this one! The only real surprise is that Peter returns after being absent since 28 Up. Of course, everyone does look older and their kids have grown up. Some have been affected by the global economic crisis and the UK's response. A few comment on the ways that they've been portrayed in previous episodes and their response to the public's response (basically, no one feels that they've been accurately portrayed as whole human beings). A few people challenge the idea of economic determinism that guided the original program's design (although it feels fairly apparent that SES status does affect opportunities in this small sample). As always, the really impressive thing about this series is the way that it gets you to think about your own life and your particular developmental trajectory and the societal changes that impact on it. So, where was I in 1974, 1981, 1988, 1995, 2002, and 2009? Turns out that that could be some very interesting television. I bet it is the same for you. I wonder if we will see the same continuity present if and when the series returns in 2019.
April 25, 2014
The real achievement here is that the documentary was filmed every seven years following the lives of 14 children. It really is fascinating to see how well you can predict someone's future. The 14 children are now 56 years old. This is a Must see but you have too see all the others too.
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